2021 Covid-19 Charity Communications Survey

2020 was an extraordinary year, full of uncertainty, challenge and change. When the UK went into lockdown last March, many charities were forced to pivot their activity online, to ensure they could keep supporting those who needed them most. We knew that in 2021 charities would still be facing barriers and challenges. But what were the most pressing?

Together with CharityComms, we launched the Covid-19 Charity Communications Survey in March 2020 to understand first-hand the key challenges charities were facing. One year later, we’ve partnered with them once again to run a second iteration of our Covid Comms survey. Whilst the sector is emerging from crisis mode, we know that there are still barriers and challenges when it comes to communications that both Media Trust and CharityComms can help address. 

This year we had 289 responses, up 31.9% from 219 respondents in 2020, and the pressures of the pandemic are evident, with 39% of respondents telling us that they have felt overwhelmed at work.

Key findings: 

  • The top three comms challenges charities are facing are: producing digital content, for example, films, vlogs, infographics (53%), digital exclusion when audiences do not have access to technology or the internet (52%), and supporting users who would normally have access to face-to-face services (48%). 
  • Encouragingly, more than 50% of respondents told us their ability to communicate effectively with stakeholders has improved since March 2020. 
  • Worryingly, 75% told us that their workload has increased since lockdown and 59% said their responsibilities at work has increased. 
  • When asked what pro-bono support they most needed, 46% of respondents told us they needed support in social media and digital marketing and 45% in film and content production. 

In terms of training delivery, 82% of respondents said that they want to access training via live webinars, with only 15% looking for large face-to-face groups. 

You can download the full survey findings below. 

The year ahead 

With the biggest comms challenge being producing digital content (53%), we have partnered with industry partner Facebook to deliver a free masterclass for charities on Mobile Anatomy (Mobile-first video) with Facebook on Wednesday 19 May 

We also look forward to welcoming 60 charities for our free Digital Spring School, in partnership with Google.org. Charities will receive training over three weeks starting in April on how to inspire, engage and mobilise audiences, as well as weekly mentoring by industry experts. We will also shortly be launching sign-ups for our Digital Summer School taking place later in the year.  

We are also in the process of refreshing our Volunteer Platform and adding new features to help charities find media industry volunteers with the relevant skills to work with them to enhance their comms, become better storytellers, engage the media in their work and ultimately have a stronger voice and stronger impact. 

If you have any questions or would like to contact a member of our Charity Services team, please email trainingandevents@mediatrust.org. 

Read the 2021 Covid-19 Charity Communications survey

For more information on how the needs of charities are changing, take a look at last year’s Covid-19 Charity Communications survey, identifying the communications needs of charities during the first lockdown.

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